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Bath kit manager charged by RFU over comments to referee

By Ian Cameron
Mike Williams is sent off /Getty Images

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Bath’s kit manager could be in hot water for comments he allegedly made to referee Ian Tempest during his side’s loss to Wasps over the weekend.

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The comments were made during a red card flashpoint during the game when Bath second row Mike Williams was sent off for an incident that left a Wasps player injured.

Williams was dismissed in the 47th minute for a dangerous challenge on Wasps centre Jimmy Gopperth as the lock sought to effect a clear-out in a mall.

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Gopperth received lengthy treatment before being taken off on a stretcher but recovered afterwards although the damage was done and bottom-placed Bath are still without a win in the Gallagher Premiership after six defeats.

However this was not all that went on, with the RFU taking Bath kit manager – Steve Middleton – to task over what happened after the lock had been sent from the field.

An RFU statement reads: “Bath Rugby’s Mike Williams and Steve Middleton (kit manager) will appear before an independent disciplinary panel tomorrow night (Tuesday 2 November 2021).

“Williams was shown a red card by referee Ian Tempest in the 47th minute of the match between Bath Rugby and Wasps on Saturday 30 October 201. This was for dangerous play in a ruck contrary to World Rugby Law 9.20b .

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“Middleton was charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union and the game, contrary to RFU Rule 5.12, after they were ordered from the field of play by the referee during the same match. This was for comments made towards the referee in the second half.

“The independent disciplinary panel will be chaired by Jeremy Summers with Mitch Read and Tony Wheat.

Bath DoR Stuar Hooper said: “I didn’t see the incident close-up as the feed in our box wasn’t working but if a player is injured following an opponent charging into a ruck, then you probably know the result.

“A red card always makes the situation very challenging and it certainly played a huge part in the game as there was a big swing in momentum.”

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– additional reporting PA

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